Public Observatory

Amazing views of the Universe, including images from telescopes at the Smithsonian Public Observatory at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC | @SIObservatory |
142 Pins

Our Museum in Washington, DC is turning 40 on July 1, and we want you to help us celebrate! Join us in DC and online for an all-night 40th anniversary event and the official reopening of the Boeing #MilestonesofFlight Hall. #airandspace40

Meteors & Meteorites: Overview Vital Stats. Visit "A New Moon Rises" at the National Air and Space Museum to see beautiful and fantastic craters on the Moon!

Double transit! Skilled astrophotographer Thierry Legault captured the International Space Station flashing in front of the Sun during the hours-long Transit of Mercury on May 9, 2016.

Observe the Transit of Mercury 2016 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, or see it with our live stream!

Images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will be on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. beginning Feb. 26, 2016. The new exhibit displays the dramatic lunar landscapes captured by the LRO Camera (LROC).

We made constellation cards using construction paper and shaped hole punches. Then we projected our night sky using an old school overhead projector!

Andromeda Galaxy Scanned with High-Energy X-ray Vision | NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

Check out the conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Mars in the early pre-dawn! This photo in the fog by Kouji Ohnishi, taken at Iiyama, Japan, is called "Reverie in Autumn." It was featured on

This 12.6-cm wavelength radar image of the northern hemisphere of Venus was collected today at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Image Credit: Smithsonian Institution/NASA GFSC/Arecibo Observatory/NAIC

Just 3 days before flying past Pluto, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured this image of Pluto's Charon-facing side. Every day reveals more detail on the mysterious, icy world, capturing the imagination of the world.

Saturn's Great White Spots are storms that can encircle the planet. Image by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

We have a whole basket of different views of the Sun at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory, at the National Air and Space Museum. These images, from August 14, 2013, were taken with three different telescopes, and then warped into egg shapes and rotated. Follow the link for the original images.

This image is just magnificent!!! Astrophotographer Thierry Legault captured this photo of the International Space Station as it passed in front of the Sun on March 20, 2015, right in the middle of a solar eclipse! What are the odds??

Black holes can't decide: their gravity pulls inward, but fierce winds push outward. This is a new joint discovery by NASA and ESA telescopes.

Visitors to the Public Observatory on Feb 4, 2015 got a triple treat: a large filament, a minor solar flare, and a dramatic prominence eruption! Credit Smithsonian staff.

Hubble Sees A Smiling Lens | NASA

Cosmic jaw-droppers! Smithsonian Magazine's picks for best space images of the week include this artist's rendition of a huge ring system, including gaps, around a giant exoplanet. Credit: Ron Miller.

"Will the real monster black hole please stand up?" This image from NASA's NuSTAR reveals that in the colliding galaxy pair Arp 299, only one of the galaxies’ supermassive black holes is actively “feeding” on gas. In the center panel, the NuSTAR high-energy X-ray data appear in various colors overlaid on a visible-light image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The panel on the left shows the NuSTAR data alone, while the visible-light image is on the far right. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

This artist's depiction shows a gas giant planet rising over the horizon of an alien waterworld. New research shows that oceans on super-Earths, once established, can last for billions of years. (Image by David A. Aguilar)

Retro travel posters from NASA JPL's "Exoplanet Travel Bureau," based on real exoplanets discovered by Kepler. "Relax on Kepler-16b, where your shadow always has company!"

John Chumack of Yellow Springs, Ohio captured this lovely image of Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 with a telescope and digital camera. Note the green glow around the nucleus, and the delicate streamers of its tail. With a dark sky, the comet is visible to the naked eye or with binoculars. Observers in the northern hemisphere should look just below Orion.

NASA’s MAVEN Mission Identifies Links in Chain Leading to Atmospheric Loss. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Astronomers have captured the best image ever of planet formation around an infant star, HL Tau, using the new high-resolution capabilities of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Multiple rings and gaps in the disk around the star herald the presence of emerging planets. Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); C. Brogan, B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

The biggest sunspot in 25 years put on a glorious show of coronal loops as it rotated out of view. It may survive until it rotates back into view next week. This view from NASA's space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory combines two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light.

"Nultifarious Night Above The Lauder" taken in New Zealand by Petr Horálek. In this multifarious image, look for the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, a column of pale zodiacal light, green and red southern aurorae, and green lidar beams from NIWA that measure the ozone layer.